by Morinville News Staff

The Wildrose charged the NDP government of “pulling a fast one on the taxpayers of Alberta” Tuesday. A day after the government announced a series of consultations on the 2017-2018 budget, the Wildrose argue the budget consults are simply “campaign-style meetings that are invite-only for NDP friends,” something the Wildrose believe the NDP party should be paying for.

“Albertans deserve better than a government that introduces a carbon tax that punishes the province then goes to hide in an echo chamber of supporters for feedback,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said in a release Tuesday morning. “If the Finance Minister and Premier truly travelled the province and talked to everyday Albertans worried about the future of our province, they would hear a resounding no for the direction they are taking us.”

The Wildrose say the NDP government have refused to disclose who was invited to what the opposition says should be a series of open and transparent meetings about the upcoming budget.

“This government continues to plunge us further into debt and deficit, and this so-called consultation tour is just another waste of taxpayer dollars for what are essentially private campaign rally functions,” Wildrose Shadow Finance Minister Derek Fildebrandt said in the same release. “If the Finance Minister insists on proceeding with this tour in its current format, their party should be paying for it.”

The sessions kicked off Monday in Edmonton. Another was planned for Stony Plain Tuesday. Another session is planned for Redwater Jan. 18.

The government has scheduled a telephone town hall for Northern Alberta on Jan. 30. The NDP say Albertans will have the opportunity to speak with Premier Rachel Notley and Minister Ceci during the telephone town halls. Land lines will be dialled directly, and those with cell phones can sign up for a call. Details will be released by the province closer to Jan. 30.

Those unable to attend one of the sessions can submit their suggestions online at www.alberta.ca/budget-2017-consultations.aspx. The online submission page will collect feedback until Feb. 3.

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